friends say the words your heart says, but the difference is you like the sound of your friends’ voices better than your own.

Me: “I feel like I can be myself.”

Julie: “That’s how you should always feel.”

For those of you who don’t yet know her, Meet Julie.  The beautiful friend I made during my freshman year at Kent State and one of my dear Ohio ladies that dreams about our joint-return to Columbus…one day (maybe)- and this year I was honored to serve as Maid of Honor in her wedding to one of the greatest guys I know, Ken.

With Juls living in Akron, she plays the (over-casted) role as one of my long-distance best friends that I constantly play phone/text tag with.  However, last night, after postponing a quick afternoon call while I waited for the train, we finally got a chance to chat.  As always, our conversation contained many “I wish you were here to go on a Meijer run” (a familiar activity of ours when we both lived in Columbus) and plans for Ken & her to visit after the new year. 

Yes, visit me in Chicago…in the winter.  I know.  I tried talking them out of it but they wouldn’t have it.  They must really love me.

Getting back to our call, I’ll share that my conversations with Julie always end up being very heart-felt and sincere.  She, like many of my girl friends, are the ones that I feel like I can’t be anything but honest with.  They allow me to be myself with them.  And last night, Julie literally told me exactly that. (Note the lines I shared above.)  With Ken watching football in the background, Julie preached to me one of life’s most important lessons: Be Yourself.  Such simple words, but exactly what one cannot hear enough and hearing them from Julie is quite impactful…because she,too, wears the shoes that I wear.  In other words, Julie has battled the same demons as me: Learning to Love Herself.

Ken has helped Julie so much, which is one of the reasons I admire and adore him.  He’s an Aidan and I’m so happy that Julie can call him her husband.  But while he’s been able to help Juls, he hasn’t fought the battle for her.  As I’ll remind her in times of weakness, she is the warrior that has fought off  the dragons. 

And she’ll tell me the same.  Like last night, she said the words that I needed to hear, reminding me that the struggles are behind me and I’m starting to feel the way I should have felt all along.  The way that I should always feel from now on.

Stef shared this quote with me a few months ago, as it’s quite relevant to our friendship and the shared bond that we have over the obstacles we’ve faced.  Well this also aligns with Julie and our common struggles and personal growth.  Both friends remind me that sometimes you need another to tell you that, “It’s going to be okay,” but that it’s even more beneficial to hear it from someone who knows exactly what you’re going through and can say with understanding, “You’re going to be okay.”

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one ~ C.S. Lewis


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